Managing your WordPress Comments Area.

The WordPress Comments Facility can be used to your Sites Advantage or Dis Advantage.

On my own Blogs I tend to dis able Comments but I am sure there are Scenarios where they would be useful.

Whenever I’ve finished reading an article on other Blogs that leaves an impression on me, the first thing I do is scroll down to the comments – as I am interested in what others think about the Article.

The comments section of your WordPress blog is a great way to foster discussion, and if properly managed can become the centerpiece of a thriving online community. At the same time, if it’s managed improperly, it can be something else – a black mark on your site that attracts trolls, hackers, and malware. It’s up to you to ensure that it’s the former, not the latter.

Check Your WordPress Discussion Settings

The first thing you should do is take steps to manage how your WordPress installation handles user comments. To that end, there are a few factors you’ll need to take into account(Source):

  • How much identification is required to comment: Will you allow anyone to comment, or only registered users? Do comment authors need to provide their name and email, or can they leave comments anonymously?
  • Whether or not comments are enabled at all: Note that you can either disable comments for specific blog posts, or turn them off by default.
  • How comments are approved: Will you protect your blog by holding all comments for moderation, or can a commentator come back and leave additional comments to their heart’s content once their first post has been approved?
  • How long articles remain open for comments: This one’s self-explanatory. Will you leave your posts open indefinitely for comments, or close them after a certain time frame?
  • How comments are ordered on your posts: WordPress orders comments in chronological order by default. Depending on how you want your comments section to look, you can modify this so they display as the reverse.
  • Whether or not pingbacks are enabled: By default, WordPress is configured to notify you of posts linking back to your article with a trackback. This appears in the comments section of a post; unfortunately, on particularly active posts, this can lead to a significant volume of spam. As such, it’s generally recommended that you turn this setting off.
  • Notification settings: There are three settings you can choose from here. You can set it up so that you’re notified via email whenever someone comments, when a comment is awaiting moderation, or not at all. The second option is usually best.
  • Comment pagination: With this option, you can control whether comments appear as a single page, or are broken into several pages based on volume.
  • Comment blacklist: A list of words, emails, URLs, and IP addresses that you want to ban from appearing in your comment section. Comments containing any of the values entered into this form are filtered as spam before they enter your moderation queue.
  • Avatars: Purely aesthetic. This configures whether or not you want to display the avatars of users who comment on your blog, as well as the default avatar.

Install An Anti-Spam Plugin

Once you’re done tinkering with your default comment settings, your next step is to install an anti-spam plugin. This will ensure your blog is protected from comment spam, keeping it out of your moderation queue and catching the odd comment that happens to make it past said queue.

Akismet is generally the plugin of choice here, but there are alternatives such as WordPress Zero Spam and WP-Spamshield that work just as well. Do a bit of digging, and select whichever one you think is the best fit for you.

Consider Using A Third-Party Comments System

One of the more significant problems with WordPress is that, if you don’t allow unregistered users to comment, you could potentially alienate readers who don’t possess a WordPress account. That’s where third-party comments systems come in. Disqus, for example, has more features than the default WordPress tools, and users can create a single account that lets them comment on any site that uses the plugin.

Conclusion

Your comments section can be either the best or worst thing on your website. By knowing how to properly manage it, you can keep yourself safe from spam and malware alike, while ensuring that your users have as positive an experience as possible. Of course, if you don’t think it worth the headache, you could certainly just disable comments altogether.

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